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Friday, November 8, 2019

Bubble Lab and Cell Membranes

The bubble lab was a big hit with AP Bio.  I think a quick search on the internet will give you the guidelines.  I did some experimenting with the different components.  The groups with 10% soap, 10% corn syrup and 80% water had the best bubbles.

There is a lot of info on how cell membranes self heal, how things pass through membranes, and how membranes can provide separate environments inside a cell.

Easily the coolest lab ever. Pain in the butt to clean up after, but still worth it.  I am also giving my AP class Bubbles for graduation this year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


I am going to say something unpopular.  I don't like teaching about biomes I think they are boring.  I have tried all kind of things to try to make this better for the kids and less torturous for me.

This year I provided an old PowerPoint with all pertinent information, I put two copies per 8 kids on long tables.  The kids made flipbooks from the powerpoints.  It was a nice change of pace.  They got to socialize a bit while they worked.  They were all working so well, they didn't even notice I was taking pictures. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Everything is Figureoutable

This is the most commented quote I have every had in my classroom. 

All the kids wanted to know if figureoutable was a word ... 

Monday, November 4, 2019

End of the Grading Period

I have learned many things about myself over 15 years of teaching and one is that my desk is my visual To-Do List.  If my desk is clear I feel like I have nothing to do ... Unfortunately, that means when it is the end of the grading period, my desk is piled high.

I have also learned that visual learners often struggle with a planner, because once you close the planner those items no longer exist.  This hits home with me. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

You are Appreciated.

For the first time in a long time, I have a particularly troublesome group of freshmen this year.  They are more difficult and defiant than any group I have taught since my first year of teaching.  After the first few weeks, it was just really one period of the day that was problematic, and at 12 weeks they are finally starting to catch on to the whole "acceptable behavior" thing.  I have made a ton of parent contacts, I have assigned a few detentions and  I found this on my desk one day earlier this year.  

I have no idea who placed it there or how long it was there before I found it.  Sometimes it is nice that some students see how ridiculous their peers are.  This is definitely going in the book.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Book

After several years I am a BIG proponent of writing down the things you want to remember.  The craziest things happen in classrooms ... the student quotes ... the things I never thought I would hear myself say ... the sometimes ridiculousness of dealing with teenagers.  

There is absolutely no organization to my book, because sometimes I'm in a hurry, and I grab the book, open to the first empty page I encounter and scribble things down before I forget it or get interrupted.

I have cards and notes from students in addition to the silly stories.  This book is pure gold.  This stuff can't be made up.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Table Top Crime Scenes

I saw a table top crime scene lab for Forensics and I thought that is what I am doing this year instead of setting up half my room as a crime scene and risk kids moving things.  Most of the examples I saw and read about the teachers made all the crime scenes and the kids measured and drew the rough sketches and final sketches from the teacher's crime scenes.  Well, I thought, why not have the kids create the crime scenes too?  Because most of them will be crap... that is why.  So disappointing.  

Several groups didn't provide an aerial view which made it impossible to draw a sketch with measurements ... I had them switch crime scenes with another group to do the sketch.  Well, after the nonsense that ensued trying to figure out how to make it work, my co-teacher decided to have his groups make the rough sketch from their own crime scene.  The groups who did a good job had a very easy time, and the ones who didn't follow directions quickly figured out why it was important to do so.  

Several people did good jobs.  most were paper, but this group below chose legos for their crime scene.  I love the lego blood..  

Another problem we ran into was my freshmen kept touching things - especially with the lego crime scene.  I lose it a bit, when kids touch things that are not theirs, this year my freshmen don't seem to recognize that some spaces in my room are off limits.  Next year I guess I will have to put crime scene tape up!